I hear more and more stories about roommate situations gone bad for one reason or another, and I thought I would post a topic and see who has something to share. Here's my contribution:
In 2001, I had a roommate for two months, from June to the beginning of August. At that time, I needed someone to help me with expenses in a two-bedroom flat, and I knew someone who needed a place to live, so I asked him if he wanted the extra room. The guy, whose name is Joey, was 26 at the time, didn't have a job when he moved in with me, but said he was in the process of getting one, and had money put aside to live off of. At that time, I had no reason to doubt what he told me, so we agreed and I helped him move in.
For the entire first month, Joey did nothing but sit around the apartment, usually surfing the web, chatting on the computer, or sitting on the porch, smoking. He never cleaned, never took out the trash; I would come home from nine hours of work only to find the same dishes in the sink that had been there that morning, and the over-flowing trash still in the can, while Joey had been home all day, doing nothing.
Then there was the financial aspect of this short-term situation. When he moved in, Joey paid for June's rent up front, and when the bills came due, he paid his share. For July, I was out of town, but the rent was given to me in a timely manner, so I didn't have any problems. However, when I asked Joey for his share of the money for the bills (phone, electricity, cable), he wrote me a check which bounced. When I confronted him about it, he showed absolutely no concern or interest, just saying he would have to call his bank and check things out. Trouble was, as a result of Joey's bounced check, I had no money for food, because all the funds in my bank account went to bills to cover what he didn't pay.
About mid-July, Joey got a job at Harley Davidson, as a supervisor, and should have been making plenty of money. However, he did not pay back the money he owed me for that month's bills. I started doing research, asking people he'd lived with before me how things had gone. That's when things took a turn for the worst. I found out Joey had been sued by one guy for over $1,000 owed, and another guy had thrown him out and just taken a loss. To make matters worse, I found out Joey had borrowed money from people all over town to live on and pay bills, including $475 from a friend of mine to cover his rent for July, and was avoiding paying back the loans. Rummaging through a box in the basement of the house, I discovered paperwork indicating he had also been sued for repossession of his car, and it was supposed to have been taken from him. Nevertheless, he was still driving it. I decided to call the bank from which the check he wrote me had come, and check his account balance - I did this using his social security number, which I'd found among his documents. As it turned out, the account was closed, and overdrawn by $728.00. AMAZING.
I began to see the writing on the wall, and it was no surprise to me when Joey stalled in his payment for August's rent. First, the excuse was he'd left his paycheck at work because a friend of his had committed suicide, and he was so upset, he forgot his money. Then, he couldn't get into the building on Saturday, the next day, to get it. Meanwhile, he told me he'd called our landlord and made arrangements to pay his half of the rent separately. I told him that wouldn't work for me, because I'd already sent the check for the full amount to avoid late fees. I called the landlord to check Joey's story; the landlord didn't know anything about it. So, the following Monday, August 6th, I told Joey he needed to be home by noon to pay his rent. Unbeknownst to him, I had purchased new locks for the front and back doors, and was planning on changing them if he didn't show up. He never did. Sick of excuses and knowing what he was trying to do, I went into Joey's room and packed all of his things into plastic containers he was using as storage. I put aside anything of value - his computer, personal affects - that I thought he might really care about. I took everything but what I had put aside out to the back yard. Then, I cleaned his room, changed the locks on the doors, put the stuff I'd kept into my car, and drove to a friend's. I left Joey a letter on the front door, telling him he was no longer living there, and that if he wanted the things I'd kept, he would pay me the $300 he owed me.
Joey paid me the money I asked for because he wanted his things back; unfortunately for him, I'd taken his things to the home of the friend of mine he owed $475 to. So, when Joey called asking for his things after I'd gotten his money, I gave him my friend's phone number and told him to call to discuss it with him. I never heard another word. As it turns out, I was and am the only person in Milwaukee who got the money Joey owed; nobody else ever did. Guess my approach was effective!